posted on August 5, 2016 by Anna Bradley

How to Recognize a Rake; or, A Treatise for Young Ladies who should Know Better

Anna BradleyHe’s a charming young man, isn’t he? He has impeccable manners, lovely eyes, and the most angelic smile ever to grace a pair of masculine lips . . .

And he’s as wicked a rake as London’s ever seen.

You’re an innocent, my dear—a naive young lady embarked on your first season in London society. In the blink of an eye you could find yourself ruined—relieved of your virtue with no hope of bringing your despoiler up to scratch, for no gentleman in the world is slipperier than a rake intent on escaping the parson’s mousetrap.

A wise young lady must know how to recognize a rake in order to guard herself against his wily manipulations. Heed my lessons well, or you may find your reputation at the mercy of an unscrupulous seducer.

The Rake Revealed, in Five Simple Lessons

Lesson #1 – A rake will try to kiss you:

“Robyn Sutherland was trying to put his tongue inside her mouth. Goodness gracious. She’d never heard of such a thing. Was this how gentlemen in London kissed? Or was this just how Robyn kissed?”

What should you do?

“Lily’s eyes widened as his hot tongue swept against her mouth again, but she kept her lips sealed. Robyn was a gentleman. She was safe with him as long as she remained unwilling, and a lady communicated her unwillingness by keeping her lips closed.”

Lesson #2 – A rake will place you upon his lap:

“His innocent temptress was determined to escape him. She writhed and flailed and tried to twist off his lap. She’d flee as soon as he released her, that much was certain. She’d flee and he’d never get a close look at her.”

What should you do?

“Her palm landed on Robyn’s cheek with enough force to make his head snap sideways. Lily stared down at her hand in disbelief. She didn’t realize she had such a spectacular slap hidden in her palm. How thrilling to find it there!”

Lesson #3 – A rake will tease you in a most ungentlemanly manner:

“Robyn grabbed her hand and held it against his smarting cheek, unable to resist teasing her a little. What did a prim, proper young lady do when a rake teased her? ‘If I let you slap me again, Lily, may I kiss you once more?’”

What should you do?

“Lily tugged at her hand until he released her. ‘I have a better idea. I’ll slap you again, only harder, and you’ll let me go as you should have done the first time.’”

Lesson #4 – A rake will shamelessly ogle your bodice:

“The fragile neckline of Lily’s gown, low cut to begin with, had succumbed to their struggle. She looked as if she’d been kissed and then tumbled in a meadow of warm grass and daisies. Robyn tried not to devour the sight of her bosom, and failed miserably.”

What should you do?

“Lily glared at her bodice, then glared at him. When he failed to move she made a twirling gesture with her fingers to indicate he should turn around, then turned away from him and made some adjustments to her gown.”

Lesson #5 – A rake will eavesdrop on your private conversations:

“Lily whirled around at the sound of his voice. Her hand flew to her chest and patted it as if to calm her heart. ‘Robyn! What in the world are you doing, skulking back there like some common criminal? Were you spying on me?’

‘Yes.’ What point was there in denial? Spying would be the least of his sins tonight.”

What should you do?

“Lily sputtered for a moment in outrage, but then managed to draw herself up with dignity. ‘Why, how dare you?’”

When all else Fails, Reform the Rake

If you should fail in your resistance, my dear, there is but one option left to you before you must succumb to despair and ruin. Make your rake fall in love with you.

“Robyn wrapped his hands around Lily’s waist and let his face fall into her hair. Warm grass, sunshine and daisies. He’d spend his entire life learning every nuance of her scent. ‘Ah, my Lily. I love you so much. So much it hurts.’”

A reformed rake is the best of all men, and the most devoted of husbands. Once you’ve won his heart, it will be forever be yours.

ASeasonofRuinWhen desire overwhelms reason . . .

Even the Best Laid Plans . . .

Lily Somerset has the perfect plan. A quick London season, a proper courtship, and then marriage to a carefully chosen respectable gentleman. All she has to do is avoid scandal and sidestep the wicked London rogues and she’ll be rewarded with quiet, peaceful life as Lady Atherton. Simple.

That is, until one tiny misstep at a musical evening leaves Lily on the edge of social ruin and she’s forced to depend on a wicked rogue to save her reputation. And Robyn Sutherland isn’t just any rogue—he’s the wickedest gentleman in London.

Have a Way of Going Awry . . .

Robyn doesn’t save reputations—he ruins them, and it’s best for everyone if no one expects too much more of him. He’d rather spend the season in the seventh circle of hell than escort dull, proper Lily to every tedious entertainment in London, but he’s trapped in the palm of her dainty hand, and there he’ll stay for as long as it takes to repair her tattered reputation, no matter how hard she squeezes.

When Desire Overwhelms Reason

What begins as a ruse to deceive London soon flames into an uncontrollable passion. Robyn calls to the fiery spirit trapped under Lily’s prim exterior, and Lily awakens the hero’s heart that beats in Robyn’s chest. But can these unlikely lovers trust themselves enough to let desire overrule reason?

Anna Bradley

Anna Bradley

Anna Bradley has been an avid reader, writer and book fondler since childhood, when she pilfered her first romance novel and stole away to her bedroom to devour it. This insatiable love of the written word persisted throughout her childhood in Maine, where it led to a master’s degree in English Literature.

Before she became a writer, Anna worked with a rare books library featuring works by British women writers from the 1600s through the Regency period. Here she indulged in her love of stories, fondled smooth, leather-bound volumes to her heart’s content and dreamed of becoming a writer.

Anna writes steamy historical romance (think garters, fops and riding crops) and squeezes in a career as a writing and literature professor on the side. She lives with her husband and two children in Portland, OR, where people are delightfully weird and love to read.

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